Thursday, December 15, 2016

Five things I wish I’d known when I joined NYP

When I found out I was joining NYP after my ‘O’ Levels, I was worried about coping with a new environment. Even before the Freshmen Orientation Camp, I had asked relatives and siblings who had studied in polytechnics about all the ins and outs of polytechnic life. My emotions were like a roller coaster and I wanted to know exactly what to expect before entering NYP.

Time does fly and now I am in my second year in NYP. I have learnt a lot, but if I could start all over again, there are five things I wish I’d known:

1. Know Your Course Specializations 

NYP offers about 50 diploma programmes, and certain courses have their own specialisations, which have to be selected in the second or third year. For example, Molecular Biotechnology offers specialisations in Biomedical Sciences or Molecular Biotechnology, while Business Management offers seven specialisations!

Most of my friends did not know this, which led them to making last minute decisions.  I’d recommend that you find out more about the modules offered so that you can make an informed decision based on your interests and strengths.  You can find more information from our website at

2. Expect Sudden Changes

While being in a polytechnic means having more freedom, you will also need to be prepared for sudden changes in timetable, lectures, tutorials and practicals. While secondary school life has a pretty rigid schedule, in a tertiary institution you have to be prepared for a situation where members in your group project has to change the meeting time for instance. Lectures may also be postponed.  My advice? Try not get too hung up over it. Instead of sulking over the change, head to the awesome reading lounge at the library or chill out over a hot brew at T-Café. It would be counterproductive to waste two hours quarrelling with your project mates over a change in timing.

3. Do Not Throw Away Past Semester’s Notes

Every semester there are tonnes of lecture notes distributed, and after the semester, most students just throw their notes away. One of the things that I wish I had known? The knowledge you gain from the first semester will be carried forward to the next semester. Thus it is highly advisable to keep all your notes from every semester as you might not know when it will be needed again.

Be especially aware of this when you go for internship, as what you have learnt in the previous semesters will be put to test in real life. Keeping your notes will ensure that you can easily refer to them anytime.

4. It Is NOT easier than JC 

It is a common perception that polytechnics are easier than junior colleges.  Not entirely true! There are still end of the year examinations, numerous projects to complete and module criteria to meet before you can progress to the next semester. Not meeting any of these requirements could cause you to stay back an extra semester or even a year.

So, it never hurts to be prepared. Read up on notes before lectures and never forget to finish your tutorial assignments on time as they contribute to your overall GPA. There are also many group projects. As always, take NYP as a place to learn, not just from lectures, but from other social interactions as well.

5. Everything starts in Week 1 

It is common for freshmen to be in a “holiday mood” during the first week in NYP. Leaving tutorial assignments and lecture notes untouched is a big mistake. Before you know it, the amount of notes and assignments will begin to snowball as the weeks continue.

Initial topics may seem easy but as subsequent lectures are conducted, topics gets harder and more complicated. Without a good basic understanding of your initial lectures, it is easy to fall behind, and soon exams will be just around the corner. I highly recommend that you start being serious during your first week and try your best not to slack off.


So these are my five tips. Sure it will a tough three years but remember nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. There will be fun times as well as stressful moments where you will need to work hard. Manage your stress well and do not worry if you have made a mistake or two, move forward and keep your chin up!

By Christopher Teo Yu Yuan, Diploma in Medicinal Chemistry

A smile is a curve that sets things straight.

Never be afraid to try. Even if we fail, there is no better way to live. Continue to pursue to what you truly love to do.

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